UCL News


UCL announces 2002 honorary degrees

6 June 2002

Nobel Laureate for literature Derek Walcott and novelist and London biographer Peter Ackroyd are among the seven candidates to receive honorary degrees from University College London (UCL) at a degree convocation later this month, it was announced today.

They will join three female justices of the Italian, German and French supreme courts and a Nobel Prize winning developmental biologist.

Recognised internationally as a major poet and playwright, Derek Walcott was born in St Lucia and studied at the University of the West Indies before working as a theatre and art critic in Trinidad. A winner of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Genius Award in 1981 and the Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1992, Mr Walcott will collect his first honorary degree from a London university.

Peter Ackroyd's widely acclaimed biography of Charles Dickens has cemented his position as the UK's most talented contemporary writers. The author of award winning fiction - his third novel Hawksmoor won the Whitbread, Guardian and Goncourt prize for fiction - Mr Ackroyd has taken the biographical genre to new dimensions with his portrait of the City of London.

Three of the most powerful women in the European legal system will receive honorary degrees. Fernanda Contri, Noelle Lenoir and Jutta Limbach are the first women to reach the most senior positions in the Italian, French and German legal system.

Dr Christiane Nusslein-Volhard, whose work over the last 20 years has considerably influenced the direction of developmental biology, will also be honoured at the degree convocation. Her work on the developing embryo has been widely used contributing to a deeper understanding developmental disorders.

Speaking today on the announcement of the honorary degree awards Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith, UCL Provost & President, said: "The award of these honorary degrees allows UCL to give public recognition to the achievements that we admire, the standards that we aspire to and the values that we cherish."

Notes to Editors:

(i) The Honorary Degree Ceremony will be take place on Monday 17 June 2002 at UCL, Gower Street. Picture and interview opportunities available. Contact UCL Media Relations.

(ii) Biographical details available.